On June 5th, 2007 Web Analytics Demystified released the results of their March 2007 Global Survey of web analytics. To download a free copy of the complete report go to http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com/research/. I recommend that you read it.
The key findings or opportunities of this report were:
1 firms need to recognize that web analytics is not easy, even for people experienced with technology
2 firms need to recognize that most people don't understand the analytics data that is presented to them
3 firms need to understand how to strategically use the data that come from their web analytics
4 firms need dedicated resources to manage and work with the analytics
5 firms need to invest in their human resources that are working with analytics so that they are viewed as high value functions with good corporate visibility
Some of the results that I found particularly interesting from the survey were:
About 63% of respondents replied that their firm had one or fewer dedicated analytics employees. When 77% of the respondent replied that their firms were licensing analytics solutions from vendors. So that vast majority of the firms surveyed feel that analytics is important enough to justify spending money on enterprise level solutions, yet they won't dedicate any serious resources to the analysis and ultimately the changes in strategy that should come from the data that has been collected.
About 76% of respondents firms were not sure what the ROI was of having web analytics. This is a bit ironic as web analytics amongst other things is about tracking ROI. A tool that helps you calculate your ROI yet you don't know if the tool is worth the money.
About 70% of respondents believe that the majority of people who come in contact with web analytics data don't understand the data. If this is true then a firms ROI with respect to their web analytics package may often not be positive. This being said I don't think it is an issue of whether or not web analytics is valuable, but the issue is that firms are not making a complete commitment to web analytics. If the proper vendor is selected and the proper human resources are applied to work with the web analytics application then I think that if the ROI of a firms web analytics was calculated that it would be very positive.
I would like to thank the people at webanalyticsdemystified.com for making the results of their research freely available.